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Artec Spider paired with robotic arm to accelerate 3D scanning workflow

Challenge: To see how automating 3D scanning processes can eliminate human error and reduce scanning time

Solution: Artec Spider, UR5 robotic arm

Results: Mounted to a UR5 robotic arm, Artec Spider was used to 3D scan a motorcycle engine as a sample object. In real time, the robot was able to identify areas that needed to be rescanned, avoiding gaps in the final model and simplifying data processing.

Even though Artec handheld scanners were designed so as to fit well in the hand, our clients prove that they can be easily integrated into robotic systems as well.

One of the latest examples of an Artec scanner built into an automated scanning system is featured in the video below, which was provided by a Norwegian 3D graphics, printing and carving company NorNet. They’ve recently bought a Spider scanner to digitize museum exhibits, such as woodcarvings and plaster figures, as well as car parts that are no longer available on the market. Then the 3D models of the scanned objects can be reproduced using a 3D printer or CNC machine.

To see if the Spider measures up to their expectations, NorNet put the scanner to the test, mounting it to a robotic arm, Universal Robot 5 (UR5), which, according to NorNet, is quite easy to program and safe for people. For instance, if the robot hits something, it stops.

“I have many things to scan. The idea is to automate the scanning process,” says the head of NorNet, Ben-Tommy Eriksen. “I chose Artec Spider because of the resolution. Spider sees the smallest details on a wooden surface and is therefore perfect for the job.”

To practice automatic scanning, Eriksen used an old motorcycle engine, which has some very elaborate curves and holes. The engine was placed on a rotating platform and the Spider was fixed to the robotic arm to move around the scanned object. The robot fitted with the Spider identified areas that needed to be rescanned on the go to eliminate holes in the final model and simplify 3D data processing.

Eriksen says he was really happy with the results: “It worked great as you can see.”

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